Beatification of Ve. John Henry Newman is “imminent”; toughening the process

Here is a piece in a CNA story about the "imminent" beatification of John Henry Newman

Vatican City, Jan 8, 2008 / 05:16 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, has announced that the beatification of the great British convert and scholar, Cardinal John Henry Newman, is "imminent."

In an interview to be published on Wednesday in the daily Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Saraiva said that among the most important personalities to be beatified "soon" is "the case of Cardinal Newman, a relevant intellectual, and an emblematic figure of conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism."

"Personally, I wish his beatification to happen very soon because it would be very important at this moment for the path of ecumenical dialogue,” Cardinal Martins said.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins also revealed the beatification, latter this year, of the parents of St, Therese of Lisieux, Louis Martin and Azelia Guérin. The heroic virtues of the parents of St. Therese, who is now one of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church and a Doctor of the Church, were proclaimed on March 26, 1944.

Cardinal Saraiva implied that the miracle needed to proclaim them Blessed has been approved by his congregation, and will be announced at the next Consistory.

That said, look also at this story from the AP:

VATICAN CITY (AP) – It may soon be more difficult to become a saint.

A senior cardinal said Tuesday that the Vatican has written a document setting down stricter rules for initiating the process of beatification and sainthood, saying bishops should be more rigorous when accepting requests.

In an interview with Vatican daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said the new instructions on how to examine requests are ”very important innovations.”

”It is necessary to proceed with even greater caution and accuracy,” the cardinal said.

Beatification is the last formal step before possible sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

Saraiva Martins told the newspaper that there are more than 2,200 beatification and sainthood causes pending.

The cardinal gave no details but the newspaper said the document will be officially presented at the Vatican in the coming days.

Okay…. from this we learn that a new document may be coming from the Holy See about the process for beatification and canonization.

Meanwhile, this from CNS:

Vatican to encourage greater caution in opening sainthood causes

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican is preparing to issue a set of instructions to promote "greater caution and more accuracy" in the opening of new sainthood causes by local dioceses, a top Vatican official said.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, said the instructions were needed to reflect the "new spirit introduced by Pope Benedict XVI in beatification procedures."

The cardinal spoke in an interview published Jan. 8 by the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, under the headline: "More precision will be asked in diocesan canonization processes."

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said the new document will be addressed to all resident bishops, instructing them on procedures regarding the opening and advancement of sainthood causes. It will underline how the "theology of the local church" is manifested in such causes, he said.

The cardinal said the beatification of a local member represents an intense moment of faith and joy for church communities.

"But precisely because of this new value and this additional fervor implied by such events, it is necessary to proceed with even greater caution and more accuracy," he said.

He said the new document would probably be formally presented to journalists at the Vatican press office. The congregation also intends to bring the new instructions to the attention of the hundreds of postulators who guide sainthood causes, possibly through a day of study, he said.

Asked if the new instructions would help put an end to stories about the church’s "saint factories," Cardinal Saraiva Martins said the term does not even merit a response. The church does not make saints; it merely follows procedures so that they are recognized, he said.

This tells us that there will be a formal presentation.

However, there are a couple more interesting points.  First of all, we hear of the influence of Papa Ratzinger here, who has already demonstrated in concrete deeds that he wanted changes: he did not do the beatifications.  Rather, he let deputies do them.  Also, they were celebrated in the place of the blessed, rather than Rome.   Take yourself back now to Card. Saraiva’s comments about "theology of the local church".  This might be very interesting in the face of the "local theologies" that are still dominated by either too much emphases on the local Church and not enough on unity with the Universal Church, and in some places in Latin America, the theology of "liberation".

As far as the great accuracy is concerned, remember that a cause was delayed not too long ago when new information came to light.  The process for beatification should prevent that.  Thus, I can see that there is a need to toughen the procedure, which is already very exacting. 

UPDATE: 9 Jan 07 07:00 GMT

A colloquio con il cardinale José Saraiva Martins,
prefetto della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi
Sarà chiesto più rigore
nei processi diocesani di canonizzazione

Mario Ponzi

Poco più di una ventina di pagine per raccomandare ai vescovi locali più sobrietà e maggiore rigore nell’accogliere richieste di apertura di nuovi processi diocesani per beatificazioni e canonizzazioni. È il documento che la Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi si accinge a pubblicare nei prossimi giorni, "destinato a tutti i vescovi residenti – ha detto il cardinale prefetto José Saraiva Martins nell’intervista rilasciata a "L’Osservatore Romano" – contenente alcune instructiones sul come procedere nell’esaminare l’ammissibilità di nuovi casi, e sul cosa fare in modo concreto per iniziare e portare avanti la fase diocesana del processo". Il documento dovrebbe essere presentato nella Sala Stampa della Santa Sede "perché merita ampia diffusione – ha detto il cardinale – ma anche perché intendiamo richiamare l’attenzione speciale dei postulatori sul documento stesso. Sto anche pensando ad una giornata di studio riservata proprio ai postulatori per illustrare nei dettagli il documento. Sono convinto infatti che debbano essere proprio loro i primi a conoscere perfettamete cosa i vescovi diocesani devono fare".

Perché si è resa necessaria la pubblicazione di queste "instructiones"?

Se ne è avvertita l’esigenza per meglio rispondere allo spirito nuovo introdotto da Benedetto XVI nelle procedure del rito di beatificazione. Va detto subito che si tratta di innovazioni molto importanti, capaci di sottolineare in modo efficace la teologia della Chiesa locale così come è stata riaffermata con forza dal Concilio Vaticano II. La beatificazione di un servo di Dio nella Chiesa cui appartiene è qualcosa che tutta la comunità vive in maniera compatta, in un clima di fede che si trasforma in gioia e festa ecclesiale per il fatto che uno di loro è stato elevato agli onori degli altari. Ma proprio in virtù di questa nuova valenza, di questo fervore ulteriore che connota tali eventi è necessario procedere con ancor maggiore cautela e con più accuratezza.

Sarà sufficiente secondo lei a far cadere quei tanti luoghi comuni che favoleggiano di fabbriche di santi e di inflazione di beati?

A chi parla di "fabbrica di santi" non vale nemmeno la pena rispondere se non altro perché si tratta di gente che non capisce la grandezza della santità e dunque non sa che i santi sono e non si fanno. Per quanto si riferisce alle accuse inflazionistiche di santi e beati, vorrei ricordare solo quello che Giovanni Paolo II rispondeva quando gli si faceva notare proprio questo tipo di accusa mossa alla Chiesa. Egli diceva che se c’erano tanti santi in giro bisognava chiederne conto al buon Dio, poiché suscitava tanta santità nel cuore degli uomini. La Chiesa non fa altro che prenderne atto, seguire un percorso e giungere ad una conclusione.

In questo iter che peso hanno le possibilità economiche dei proponenti?

Ecco questa è un’altra distorsione della verità da eliminare. I soldi con il riconoscimento della santità non hanno nulla a che vedere. È vero che istruire e portare a compimento un processo di beatificazione comporta delle spese. Tra quelle che più incidono, anche se si tratta di somme certamente non importanti, c’è il giusto compenso per la commissione medica chiamata a verificare, dal punto di vista scientifico, la miracolosità della guarigione che si intende portare come prova testimoniale per il processo. C’è poi l’altrettanto giusto compenso per i membri della commissione teologica chiamati ad interpretare se tale guarigione miracolosa sia attribuibile all’intercessione della persona di cui si tratta. Ma, come le ripeto, si tratta di cifre molto modeste. Altre spese da affrontare, e queste sì che sono un po’ più consistenti, sono quelle relative alla pubblicazione della positio e quelle eventualmente riferibili al rito vero e proprio:  dalla stampa dei libretti liturgici all’addobbo floreale dell’altare e via dicendo.

Ma quanto costa portare avanti sino alla fine una causa?

Non è possibile fare cifre perché dipende sempre da quale tipo di causa si tratti. Voglio dire che la spesa dipende dalla complessità della documentazione da vagliare, dalla difficoltà di giungere ad una definizione scientifica per ciò che riguarda la guarigione, da eventuali richieste di approfondimento. I processi sono tutti diversi uno dall’altro. Una cosa certa è che non è la Congregazione a determinare le spese; non interviene se non in modo indiretto. È il postulatore della causa il "cassiere", quello che raccoglie i soldi necessari e salda i conti. La Congregazione mette solo in collegamento i diversi attori del processo e nulla di più. È vero che se dietro c’è una congregazione religiosa il maggior onere delle spese se lo accolla lei, ma le assicuro che per riconoscere la santità non servono né la statua più bella né la borsa più piena:  quando c’è di mezzo un santo vero è la Chiesa popolo di Dio a mobilitarsi e quel minimo che occorre si trova sempre. Tanto è vero che io, nella mia esperienza, ho imparato che non esistono cause povere:  se una causa è "povera" vuol dire che è una povera causa, nel senso che povera è la stessa fama di santità.

Quanto influisce proprio la fama di santità nell’apertura di un processo?

Direi che è l’unica molla che fa avviare il processo. Senza fama di santità non si muove nulla. E questa è la garanzia vera, quella che dovrebbe mettere a tacere ogni scetticismo:  è la gente che addita alla Chiesa l’esemplarità di una figura. Sono i fedeli stessi che mostrano quanto questa figura sia stata capace di influire sulle loro vite, di alimentare la loro fede, di accendere in loro la fiamma della speranza, di proporsi come ancora di salvezza nelle loro personali vicende al punto di rivolgersi a loro in accorata preghiera. Non nego che ci possano anche essere altri auspici, come magari il giusto orgoglio di una famiglia religiosa nei confronti di un fondatore o di un confratello. Ma le assicuro che senza l’impulso che viene proprio dalla fama di santità è difficile avviare un processo.

Dunque non si può neppure contare su raccomandazioni per accelerare un po’ il cammino del processo.

Guardi ci sono solo due motivi che potrebbero convincere la Congregazione a derogare al rigido principio cronologico nell’espletamento dei processi. Il criterio che seguiamo nell’esaminare i documenti è quello dettato dalla precedenza degli arrivi delle pratiche. Nel dubbio, si procede all’esame di altre e così via, ma sempre rispettando l’ordine di arrivo. Le dicevo dei due motivi di deroga:  il primo era molto frequente durante il pontificato di Giovanni Paolo II. Viaggiava molto e, dunque, se avevamo all’esame una causa riferita ad un personaggio nativo del Paese nel quale il Papa stava per recarsi in visita pastorale, allora le davamo precedenza. L’idea era quella di dare la possibilità al Papa di elevare agli onori degli altari un fratello dei popoli tra i quali andava a testimoniare la forza e la vivacità del Vangelo. Il secondo motivo è sempre di natura pastorale e riguarda processi riferiti a figure esemplari di paesi che ancora non annoverano tra i loro figli un beato o un santo. L’intento è quello di offrire a quei popoli modelli di santità nati nella loro stessa terra e dare testimonianza di quello che io credo debba essere considerato il motore stesso della santità, cioè comprendere che in fondo la santità non è che la pienezza dell’umanità. Questo è anche il motivo per cui Cristo è considerato l’uomo perfetto:  egli ha incarnato la santità del Padre. Al di fuori di questi motivi non c’è altro che potrà mai influire sul percorso di una causa che si discute qui in Congregazione".

Quali potrebbero essere i motivi per la non ammissibilità di una causa?

Intanto proprio la mancanza della fama di santità, come le ho detto. Poi dipende dal giudizio della commissione scientifica:  se è negativo a noi non resta che prenderne atto e ricusare. Lo stesso avviene nel caso in cui fosse la commissione dei teologi a non riconoscere l’attribuibilità dell’intercessione.

Quali santi e beati ci riserva il 2008?

Le cause in giacenza in Congregazione sono oltre duemila e duecento. Le prime a giungere a conclusione, credo già nei primi mesi dell’anno, dovrebbero essere quelle che riguardano la canonizzazione di quattro beati:  Gaetano Errico, napoletano, fondatore di una congregazione; Berandra Bütler, una religiosa svizzera fondatrice di un ordine religioso, a lungo missionaria in Ecuador, e poi in Colombia a Cartegena; Alfonsa dell’Immacolata, una religiosa indiana del Kerala, e infine Narcisa di Gesù Martillo, laica ecuadoriana. Per i tempi effettivi resta comunque da vedere quando sarà convocato il Concistoro.

Ma il Papa potrebbe decidere di far giungere a conclusione un processo?

Certo che potrebbe farlo, ma non lo ha mai fatto, per una causa in corso. Per Giovanni Paolo II si autorizzò l’abbreviazione dei tempi previsti per l’inizio della fase diocesana, tra l’altro conclusasi il 2 aprile dello scorso anno. Ora è in svolgimento la fase romana, essendo state consegnate alla nostra Congregazione tutte le documentazioni raccolte. Attualmente si sta elaborando la positio che conterrà le parti più rilevanti e significative del processo, ordinate in maniera sistematica ed organica, necessarie alle valutazioni dei teologi, dei cardinali e vescovi membri del dicastero poi sull’esercizio delle virtù eroiche di Papa Wojtyla. Una volta redatta e stampata la positio verrà esaminata dai vari organi collegiali della Congregazione". Di tempi, per ora, non si parla.

 

 

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30 Responses to Beatification of Ve. John Henry Newman is “imminent”; toughening the process

  1. Berolinensis says:

    Fantastic news about Cardinal Newman! Deo gratias.

  2. Jeff says:

    Did not Pope John Paul II alter the rules by making it easier for canonizations, reducing the requirement of 4 miracles to 2? I understand the process was heavily revised.

  3. Matthew Mattingly says:

    John Paul II loosened up the restrictings, and the result was the pushing of causes of the most odd types. It was almost as if no requirements/screening was being done at all. But that was not JP II’s fault, but rather the people minding the store ! Meanwhile, what has happened to one of the most worthy candidates for beatification/canonization, Pope Pius XII. John Paul II also…but His cause will probably be slower because He’s only gone not quite 3 years.

  4. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Finally!, the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Interesting for many reasons, what with, for instance, the way things are going with ecumenism with the Anglican crowd.

    Of course, sometimes people are beatified for their heroic virtues and a miracle more than their theological commentary, and parts of intellectual work that are mistaken are just ignored in favor of the holiness. That’s just the way it is. Nothing wrong with that. St Thomas’ theology of Mary’s immaculateness had to be tweaked a bit.

    I’m just wondering if we’ll see some citation of the Cardinal’s mistaken thoughts on inspiration during the Scripture Synod that’s coming up soon. Some years ago, I mentioned the difficulty to one of the ones taking care of the intellectual side of JHN’s case (who is now a semi-retired professor in Rome), and his rather gruff response was, “Yes, well, big deal.”

    Don’t get me wrong, the Blessed-To-Be has a gargantuan amount of wonderfully Catholic material. Overwhelming, really. And the opposition he had to face in England! This is just a caveat to read with a careful eye. Anyway, I’m also impressed with the quality publication of his material, and the careful reading of it that has been witnessed in recent years.

    Great news!

  5. KMR says:

    This reminds me, whatever became of John Paul II being put on the fast-track, as it were, to beatification/canonisation?? I was, frankly, surprised than Benedict, early in his papacy, was so fervent in this matter, and yet all the hype seems to have died down. Any thoughts??

  6. Ray from MN says:

    Father:

    RE: Saint Factory

    According to the Vatican web page, there were 38 canonization ceremonies during the 27 year pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

    In those ceremonies, 482 saints were canonized.

    http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ELENCO_SANTI_GPII.htm

    Roughly 384 of those canonizations involved groups of martyrs from Asia and other missionary locations.

    The text is in Italian, a language I don’t read read well at all. But other martyrs can be added to that number, including St Maximilian Kolbe.

    It is my understanding that traditionally martyrdom was an automatic proof of sainthood, requiring no miracles.

    Over a 27 year period, that doesn’t sound like an inordinate number of saints. Just you wait til they start canonizing victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Nazis and the Russian, Chinese and Asiatic communists.

    Apparently there were something like 1,300 beatifications under Pope John Paul II. I don’t have access to those names and details. No doubt there are large groups in there and there may have been too much easing up of the requirements.

    But I hope and pray not.

    For since all that “sainthood” means is that an individual is in heaven, I
    hope and pray daily that my relatives and friends who have already died are
    there waiting for me and are praying that I make it. I will be very sad on
    that day when I pass on and hopefully will meet the requirements for heaven only to
    find out that I don’t know anybody there. It might be very lonely, except
    of course, for the Lord.

  7. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Of course, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the real saint factory!

  8. Geoffrey says:

    KMR: “This reminds me, whatever became of John Paul II being put on the fast-track, as it were, to beatification/canonisation?? I was, frankly, surprised than Benedict, early in his papacy, was so fervent in this matter, and yet all the hype seems to have died down. Any thoughts??”

    If by “hype” you mean the secular media, I am not surprised they have ceased coverage. The Catholic media on the other hand continues to report the events as they occur. On April 2, 2007, the 2-year anniversary of the Servant of God’s death, a ceremony was held by the Vicariate of Rome, concluding the diocesan phase. The cause of beatification is now at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In 2006, while in Poland, Pope Benedict XVI asked for prayers for the early canonization of John Paul the Great, and that it would happen “in the near future.” Oremus!

  9. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Is it fair to say that if John Henry Cardinal Newman’s works presented some questions, the entire corpus of John Paul’s writings could present as much for the postulator as for the advocate of the devil?

  10. Matt Q says:

    Fr Renzo di Lorenzo wrote:

    “Of course, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the real saint factory!”

    Yes, Father, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Tridentinum. :)

  11. Rachel Gray says:

    I’m so thrilled to hear about Cardinal Newman! I would have wanted him to be my patron saint when I was confirmed if he’d been a saint then, since bits of his writings were very influential in my conversion.

  12. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    I never took the course at the Causes of Saints, but I’ve heard umpteen times that there is no more advocate of the devil, which may mean, hah, that everyone there is an advocate of the devil in one capacity or another! Who’s taken the course, recently?

  13. It should be made difficult to be a saint, as in many cases the history is unknown or vague. However, that is not to ignore that sainthood should not be attributed with divinity either as it is a case of man chosen by man, but unfortunatly some religions fail to observe this.

  14. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    No, so-called “Radical Muslim” (ex-Catholic?). You even blaspheme (from your “muslim” perspective) what’s spoken about in your own Qur’an. Declarative mercy, and all that? Oh, I see, you’re just… well, never mind! Look, how about becoming a Catholic and clearing up your confusion? Regensburg address, anyone? Reasonableness in religion, anyone? Not so radical, are you?

  15. Berolinensis says:

    I begin to wonder whether this is really correct. The actual Oss. Rom. interview does not mention Cardinal Newman at all.

  16. df says:

    the Newman cause is a non-story at the moment. The Cardinal never said a beatification is imminent, just that personally he hopes it will be soon. There is still work to be done on the process.

  17. Jordan Potter says:

    df said: The Cardinal never said a beatification is imminent, just that personally he hopes it will be soon.

    And yet the CNA story puts the words “imminent” and “soon” in quote marks, and plain give us to understand that Cardinal Saraiva said those words in reference to when to expect the announcement of Cardinal Newman’s beatification.

    In an interview to be published on Wednesday in the daily Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Saraiva said that among the most important personalities to be beatified “soon” is “the case of Cardinal Newman, a relevant intellectual, and an emblematic figure of conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism.”

    “Personally, I wish his beatification to happen very soon because it would be very important at this moment for the path of ecumenical dialogue,”

    So, if CNA’s story is correct, he didn’t just wish it to be “very soon,” but affirmed it is “soon” and “imminent.”

    But CNA has gotten stories wrong before. I don’t see Cardinal Newman’s name in the Italian language text.

  18. David Kubiak says:

    I could not be more pleased at the thought of Cardinal Newman progressing, since it’s nice to think that real intellectuals can have a shot at sainthood along with unlettered ‘Doctors’ of the Church. But I have heard a persistent rumor that I wonder if any Rome-watchers can confirm, that the authorities are troubled by his particular friendship with that priest whose name escapes me that he wanted to be buried next to. I can hardly imagine a more asexual person than the Cardinal, but even during his lifetime his enemies made snide comments about his manner, which I think was one of the things that made Cardinal Manning dislike him so much.

  19. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    I think it’s up to the devil’s advocate to provide proof of the accusation. I hear there is an opening at the Causes of Saints. Tough job, though: RSV Revelation 12:10 “the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”

  20. seanie says:

    The confusion in the L’Osservatore Romano online article (in Italian)
    lies most likely in the fact that only the beati scheduled to be canonized are listed, but not the venerabili scheduled to be recognized as beati. The
    story is also reported in the reliable German language portal kreuz.net.

    btw as far as I am concerned “unlettered” Doctors of the Church make outstanding teachers, abounding as they do in the virtue of humility.

  21. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Exactly seanie. But, do you mean Catherine and Thérèse and Teresa? Yeah, I guess they are unlettered, but, I mean, they not only can teach because of their humility, but they knew more than so many of the “lettered” crowd. The Word Himself is THE Teacher. It’s before HIM that they are humble, instead of being humble before this “school” or that “school”.

  22. Berolinensis says:

    seanie: kreuz.net and reliable – you must be joking. I bet you they picked this story up exactly here.

  23. seanie says:

    Fr Renzo: yes, I had St. Therese in mind but it applies to all three.
    Of course you are right. I mentioned the virtue of humility because there
    is such a thing as humility which is not virtuous. But knowing Jesus and fallin in love with Him makes one humble because one sees oneself exactly as He sees us.

    Berolinensis: not wanting to derail the thread, but kreuz.net got it right time and time again with regard to the reporting on the Motu Proprio..

  24. Cristhian says:

    i’m very glad about the beatificaction of Card. Newman but why the holy see are taking too much time with the process of Vn. Pius XII?

  25. David M.O'Rourke says:

    David Lubiak suggests that Cardinal Newman my have had a homosexual orientation but if the cardinal lived a chaste life, perhaps even practicing heroic chastity, such an orientation should not cause a problem, even if the suggeestion is true (which we don’t know).

    Likewise, having a close fraternal relationship with another priest should cause no problem. Homosexual activity and entertaining morbid thoughts would be a serious problem indeed but let’s not go leaping to any unwarranted conclusions.

    As for the Cardinal and the priest being buried beside each other, I think we can safely presume nothing is going on there.

  26. Kim D'Souza says:

    The bond between John Henry Newman and Ambrose St John was formed over many years of shared struggles in the foundation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in England. Fr St John did his novitiate together with Newman at the Roman Oratory and was his companion from the beginning. Perhaps we can admit that Newman’s devotion to this one confrère amounted to an imperfection in living the life of an Oratorian (avoidance of particular friendships and all that; the saints were not necessarily free from imperfections), but the only scholars who would see anything more sinister are those who have an agenda: Boswell etcetera. Certainly, the fondness (for lack of a better word) in their friendship is not unique in the history of the Church and especially among the founders of religious institutions. For example, St Francis Xavier cut the signatures out of letters sent to him by Ignatius Loyola and the other companions, and carefully pinned them inside his cassock over his heart. He wrote to St Ignatius: “these I carry always with me to be my solace and refreshment”. I pray that the rumour heard by Mr Kubiak is untrue and Cardinal Newman will be beatified soon!

  27. Habemus Papam says:

    Earlier generations where far less nosey about other peoples sex lives. There may well have been comments about a “particular friendship” but to transpose that into our pretty sick mentality would be going too far. Ecclesiastical politics probably explains Mannings dislike of Newman.

  28. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    With regard to Newman and Manning, I think it had less to do with politics and more to do with the perception that Newman was trying to reform Catholicism to make it more palatable to English sensibilities. For example some of the criticisms Newman made against the great Marian theologians such as de Ligouri. But what bothers me about his beatification, is that it seems to have little to do with his personal piety and holiness, and much more to do with his intellectual writings. Most of the people pushing for his canonization (as can be seen in this thread) were not inspired by the witness of his life, but by his writings on the faith. True enough many have be influenced to convert by the clarity of his thought, but this is not necessarily a proof of his holiness. I really would like to know what his heroic virtues were, and how he practiced them. Obviously, he was a brilliant man, though his brilliance was diminished by his complete lack of philosophical training (the first philosophy course he took was in Rome in order to be ordained), and he died in the arms of the Church and with the Sacraments, but where are the heroic virtues?

  29. Habemus Papam says:

    By “ecclesiastical politics” I was thinking primarily of the different emphases on Papal Infallibility. I suppose when it comes to promoting a Cause the maxim “Its not what you know but who you know” applies to the next world as much as to this. Thats not to dispute Newmans holiness, merely to state that brains, organisation and of course money help as much as miracles.

  30. David Kubiak says:

    I don’t suppose for a minute that Cardinal Manning suspected Newman of any untoward behavior. It’s a question of personal manner. An English priest friend of mine told me that there is an oral tradition handed down about Newman that he could come off — and I will cloak the description in the decorous obscurity of a dead language — as a ‘fastidiosus vetusque regina’. Manning was temperamentally much different. Something similar has been claimed about the antipathy between Bishop Sheen and Cardinal Spellman. They all had substantive reasons to quarrel, which were exacerbated by personality.